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Thank God for Indie Movie Channels and the Indies they show
Thank God for IFC and the Sundance Channel here in the U.S. Without these two channels, there are so many films that I otherwise would never have known about less alone actually watched: especially living in the heart of Los Angeles, Studio Capital of the World. I was lucky enough though to stumble upon West Beirut and I just fell in love with it. Somebody in the user comments section said that it was "a very beautiful and funny film if you are arabic", but I'd have to strongly disagree because as a westerner and and an american I found it perhaps even more funny and beautiful as a result of where I come from. Not to get into politics, but it's kind of hard not to, it is so refreshing and wonderful and eye opening to see a film with arab characters in their homeland living their lives the way they really did and would instead of only knowing that part of the world from the violence that is constantly strewn about on the evening news and the constant 'propaganda machine' of american media which seems to be totally controlled and run nowadays by corporations and pharmaceutical companies. This movie, for me, just reinforced the idea that we are all alike no matter where we live on this planet and I find it sad to think that the only way I have to find out and appreciate a history lesson on Beirut or the life of the lebanese is through a film. Being an american, if you listen to our government at all, it would be a really bad idea to travel to the middle east. And so without films like this, it would be impossible for me to experience the oneness of all of us or a glimpse of a country and it's culture. What a beautiful idea it would be to cut out the Bush administration and all the other governments for a month out of the year and allow everyone from each country to go and look at the other side. I think we'd all benefit strongly. Until then, I'll thank movies like West Beirut for being made and allowing me the luxury of being part of another world for a couple of hours.
A great film.
Looking Through Lillian (2002)
Finding a needle in the haystack, Finally!
I was very happy to haphazardly run into this indie film. There was so little publicity done for this picture that I'm amazed that I stumbled across it at all. It's ironic that without seeing The Tuxedo, Ghost Ship, Red Dragon or any number of other large Hollywood pictures, it's impossible not to know not only that they're in theatres, but when they're playing and what they're about, even while trying to avoid them. Then on the other side of the spectrum, you have so many art house films that you literally have to hunt for in order to know they exist. Am I the only one on the planet that notices this or are there other disgruntled film goers out there?
Lest I digress too far, let me get back to my comments on Looking Through Lillian. This is a wonderful little film. And I don't use the word little in any other way than that it's like a hidden treasure one has to uncover. There is some beautiful acting in this film. Particularly and mainly on the part of the two main characters: Gene and Lillian. I found it extraordinarily moving and although it's a rocky emotional ride with these two, it feels great to root for them and her specifically. Any film that's willing to chip away to the raw side of humanity is one that I'll usually wind up watching, and when they succeed to the level that this one did, it is just a sheer delight to have been part of the experience.
A wonderful portrait of a woman gone wrong looking for something that feels right. If you get the chance to get your hands on this one, grab it and see it. It's well worth the effort.
Bang Bang You're Dead (2002)
Uncomfortably jarring and real
Thought provoking is the very least that can be said to describe this film. The film takes on school violence, more specifically, the ever increasing school mass shootings. It tackles the subject matter with it's own unique style and perspective.
This movie should be hailed for how intensely it manages to put you in the middle of what is for many young people today, the high school experience. The writer does not stick with just one group or the other, in fact he does the opposite and shows no favouritism in his presentation. What he does do, is make you empathize with everyone - even to the extent of the bullies. What he also does, is condemn nobody, including the shooters. What he leaves you with, as a result, is the hard real truth that is life. The never ending shades of grey that fill the spectrum between black and white. And what he offers is partially a solution, but part of the solution is the fact that he leaves us all to question the situation and the catch 22 of circumstance.
I'm glad that this movie is being aired and I hope that schools around the country continue to download this play and put it on at their schools. Understanding how and why may be the only way to beginning to stop school shootings and finally learn how to all deal with each other, preferably by putting oneself in somebody else's shoes but one's own.